FedBid.com Unveils Gov't Auction Site

FedBid.com Unveils Gov't Auction Site

By Nick Wakeman, Staff Writer

JUNE 20 ? Another entry into the government electronic commerce market launched June 20 with FedBid.com of Germantown, Md., unveiling its online auctioning site.

FedBid is targeting government credit card buyers who are making purchases of less than $2,500. The company estimates there are several million purchases of this size each year.

The site's goal is to aggregate purchases into pools so buyers can get lower prices through an auction process, even though individual buyers may only be buying one or two items, company officials said.

"There is a big flow of micropurchases," said Harold Gracey, vice president of government affairs for FedBid. Gracey retired May 31 as acting chief information officer of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Along with being able to buy commodity computer and information technology equipment, the FedBid site also collects the data on credit card purchases that agencies can use to meet procurement regulations, said Phillip Fuster, chief executive and president of FedBid. For example, the site captures data such as how much is being spent with small businesses, minority owned businesses, 8(a) companies and businesses owned by women, Fuster said.

"We are giving the agencies the ability to reconcile their credit card transaction online," Fuster said.

Agencies may use the site for free. Companies pay a transaction fee of less than 1 percent when they win an auction, Fuster said. Companies pay nothing if they do not have the winning bid.

The company has signed up 40 companies that will participate in auctions. About 23 agencies also have registered to use the site.

At its launch, the site will be auctioning only IT equipment, but Fuster has plans to roll out in the coming months auctions involving office supplies and equipment, furniture and medical supplies.

The company will add other lines of business as it gets feedback from customers. "We think this system can be adapted to any commodity product, even some services," Gracey said.

The auctions also are completely anonymous, which FedBid instituted to protect their agency customers, Fuster said.

An agency does not know who is bidding and the bidders do not know what agency or department is looking to buy. This protects agency buyers from unsolicited sales calls from vendors who could circumvent the auction by going directly to the buyer if they knew who was looking to make a buy, Fuster said.

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